1954 Wilson Franks Baseball Cards
Part of a wave of food-related promotional cards, 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball may not jump out as an obvious staple of 1950s baseball cards, but the unique release has long been revered by collectors for its relative scarcity and elusiveness in high grade. Ted Williams is the key card in the set.
Featuring a design reminiscent of 1954 Topps, 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball includes 20 cards that were issued individually in hot dog packages by the Chicago-area company. The card fronts feature a colorized player photo, facsimile signature across the middle or bottom, and text at the top noting the player's name, position and team. A narrow border occupies the outer edge of the card.
The big giveaway that the card is part of the 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball set is the image of a hot dog package in the top corner. This is both odd and amusing, especially on the cards where the player seems aware of the hovering hot dogs. Card backs display a traditional layout, with basic info, baseball bio and stats for 1953 and the player's entire career to that point.
The 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball checklist is evenly split between the American League and National League, and includes six Hall of Fame players. Although those in the HOF are the most obvious names for collectors, several other lesser-known subjects have proven tougher to track down, most notably Ray Jablonksi. Del Ennis, Stan Hack and Harvey Kuenn also seem to appear less often.
A main reason for the high values associated with 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball is based on the lack of high grade examples. Because of the close proximity to the hot dogs in the package, many exhibit staining. Also, centering is even more of an issue due to the thin border and print defects can be a problem.
In addition to single-issue cards, 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball can be found in uncut sheets. Originally intended as adverting pieces, the sheets feature the entire set and command strong values when they surface.
Key 1954 Wilson Franks Baseball Cards
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1954 Wilson Franks Baseball Set Checklist